Australia's Pacific 'step up', Gender data, Muppets of Humanitarian Assistance, and more

Posted on 11 February 2020

+ How is Australia's Pacific 'step up' going?

"Although there has been some progress on the diplomatic front in the past year – an increase in diplomatic visits, a boost in foreign aid and a new A$2 billion infrastructure financing initiative – there is some way to go to bring balance, mutual respect and a sense of long-term partnership and commitment to our relations with the region," writes Mick Tsikas from The Conversation.

Late last year, the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University commissioned a policy research project led by the peacebuilding NGO Peacifica and Pacific specialist Tess Newton Cain. It aimed to understand how people in three island nations (Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu) view Australians and the government’s policies in the Pacific. 

"We conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews with 150 participants from varying backgrounds, including people from urban and rural settings, women, young people, business people and those engaged in civil society and government. These conversations were then followed by expert seminars in Canberra and Suva."

The full report will be released at the Australasian Aid Conference on February 17.

Carolyn Hunt writes in DevPolicy that aid spending in much of the Pacific arguably displays the least value for money.

"While the governments of many Pacific island nations gladly accept aid funding, there is often little buy-in to assist with the implementation of aid projects", she writes.

Reasons include a lack of commitment from a government official, high staff turnover or a system based on temporary contracts that stops even senior officials from taking on recommendations made by experts.

The underlying issue is a lack of ownership.

Measured as a ratio of official development assistance against gross national income, 7 of the 15 most aid-dependent countries in the world are located in the Pacific.

Australian aid to the Pacific over the past 10 years exceeds the combined aid of the next four largest donors (New Zealand, China, Japan and the United States).

Geo-politics continues to influence aid in the Pacific, particularly with the competition between China and Taiwan, the 'fear' of China's influence, New Zealand's 'Pacific Reset' and Australia's 'Pacific Step up'.

But how is increased donor interest in the region  - let alone increased aid budgets - helping the Pacific move 'beyond aid', and become less aid dependent?

+ Localisation Survey of CID members 

The new year starts with a call to combine our passion for global development with a solid evidence-based approach and an open attitude to learn from each other and from our own mistakes.

Assessing the current status of NZ INGOs' understanding of localisation is crucial to identify the obstacles, what good practice looks like, and what could be the catalysts for change.

We acknowledge that every localisation debate should include or be led by our local partners and communities, but we also acknowledge that we don't have the resources and the capacity to run a localisation study in the Pacific, or elsewhere. In this sense, the research team of the Australian Humanitarian Advisory Group is doing very valuable work in trying to measure Localisation in the Pacific region and has published, in partnership with PIANGO, Localisation Reports of their findings in Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Tonga.

Those of you who participated in the Localisation workshop we ran with PIANGO last year will remember we did a pre-workshop survey to assess participants' views and experience. Our aim now is to gather the first baseline data on the efforts of the New Zealand INGOs to meet the Localisation shift.

The Localisation Survey will be sent out tomorrow, and a Pdf version will be circulated among our members so that you'll be able to look at the questions in advance and decide who's the person best placed to answer the survey. 

We strongly encourage all CID members to answer openly to the survey and we look forward to sharing the results with all of you!

Ma te kotahitanga e whai kaha ai tātau

+ Women leading an era of protest

As we approach International Women's Day (March 8), we thought we'd look at the role of women in an era of activism, and the challenges we face when trying to collect useful data on gender.

If you're in Melbourne March 4, the Lowy Institute is hosting a discussion about the effect women’s activism is having around the world.

Click here to reserve a seat for this event.

Last year saw a surge of civil unrest across the globe so widespread that 2019 has been dubbed “the year of the street protestor”, writes the Lowy Institute.
"In places as diverse as Hong Kong, Chile, the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, people came together for a variety of causes and grievances. These included demands for economic, racial, and gender equality; the preservation of democracy against a growing authoritarian tide; confronting climate change; opposing corruption; and addressing migration and refugee issues.
Increasingly, it is women-led movements that play an important role in advocacy, activism, and protest around the world, especially in places where authoritarian leaders have come to power. 

Women such as Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maria Ressa, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have arisen in popular consciousness as symbols of moral courage in an era of turbulence."

Also today is international day of women and girls in science.  

Did you know less than 30 per cent of science researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data (2014 - 2016), only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5 per cent) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent).

+ Urgent need for better data on gender

The need for better gender data in development is more urgent than ever. Understanding the data can answer crucial questions about women's lives; donors are putting dollars behind data collection; while big tech players are wondering how to lend their expertise

But UN Women estimates that only 31% of the data required to monitor progress for women and girls is available today. This indicates wide-ranging gaps that can lead governments and NGOs to faulty decision-making rather than gender-responsive programming.

The latest UN gender data is here in one visual dashboard. Find out how our region is doing on SDG Goal 5.

You can also look at thematic indicators beyond the SDGs. Country fact sheets provide an overview of each country's data availability and progress on achieving gender equality. You can also read stories about why the data matters, and how it impacts on the lives of women and girls everywhere. 

On a positive side, Oxfam International has just released 'Time to Care: Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis', a report that explores global inequality and the invisible weight of care work that's on women's shoulders around the world. Amongst the most interesting findings are:

  • The combined wealth of the world's 22 richest men equals the wealth of all the women in Africa.
  • If you saved $10,000 a day since the building of the pyramids in Egypt you would have only one-fifth the average fortune of the 5 richest billionaires.
  • The monetary value of unpaid care work globally for women aged 15 and over is at least $10.8 trillion annually - three times the size of the world's tech industry.
  • Globally, 42% of women of working age are outside the paid labour force, compared with 6% of men, because of unpaid care responsibilities.

+ CID working groups - support your sector and get involved

The working groups that have been proposed are as follows:

  • Public Engagement
  • Localisation
  • Partnerships (Academic, business, social enterprises, government etc)
For those of you who have already put your hand up to get involved - thank you and we'll be in touch shortly. 

The groups are entirely member led. CID is there to support and offer assistance. 

If you're keen to be part of a CID working group, please get in touch asap.

These groups will provide vital sector leadership while working with key partners in the development sector, both here and in the Pacific.

+ CID workshops and events 2020

Keep your diary free for these practical workshops on issues that you have identified as urgent this year. There will be more workshops. Here is a taste of what's coming up soon (dates still to be confirmed) 

  • Public Engagement (March/April)The most effective ways to promote and inform the New Zealand public to grow support for development
  • Gender workshop (June). How can we have the biggest impact in the Pacific, and how do we successfully report on our work with partners?
  • Operational Training (August/September). A suite of skills-based sessions, from HR and programme planning, to conflict resolution, more on MERL and reporting, and using new technology.
  • CID Conference 2020 (late October) - 'Telling the Development Story', with international experts on storytelling and promoting the benefits of development.

+ Supporting Syrian refugees to be self-reliant

Most approaches to supporting refugees have focused on enhancing refugees’ employability, with limited success, writes Kemal Kirisci for the Brookings Institute 

But little attention has been paid to creating the economic conditions necessary for them to be employed.

"An innovative way to achieve sustainable self-reliance for refugees in Turkey would be for the European Union to offer Turkey trade concessions conditional to formal employment of Syrians. Versions of this policy idea have already received backing in various high-level conferences, such as the London Conference and the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants in February and September 2016, and endorsement in the UN Global Compact on Refugees adopted in December 2018."

+ Welcome Hamlin Fistula to CID

CID would like to warmly welcome a new associate member: Hamlin Fistula New Zealand Trust. The charity was created in 2005, with the support of Dr Catherine Hamlin, to raise funds for the Hamlin Fistula Hospital work in Ethiopia. Initially, this was for fistula surgery and establishing the five outlying regional hospitals. With the introduction of midwifery training in 2007, HFNZ has focused on preventing fistula through supporting midwifery centres.

Hamlin Fistula NZ is committed to providing ongoing support for fistula surgery and for the preventive work of the midwives. The hospital in Addis Ababa has become a centre of excellence to which doctors from other countries come to learn and master the specialist skills of fistula surgery.

Read here the story of Mamitu Gashe, once a patient with obstetric fistula, she became an internationally renowned fistula surgeon and was named one of BBC’s 100 most influential and inspiring women for 2018.

+ Muppets of Humanitarian Assistance*

*as in 'Humans of New York', or 'Humanitarians on Tinder'

For over 50 years, Muppets and the characters of Sesame Street, from the Cookie Monster to Big Bird, have helped children from diverse backgrounds navigate the challenges that life brings while growing up. Occasionally unflinching in the difficult issues that Sesame Street has dealt with, they have now branched out to support children most in need; those located in war zones and places of conflict. 

Ahlan Simsim (“Welcome Sesame” in Arabic) will premiere on regional children’s television as well as on YouTube – created for the displaced and traumatised refugee children living in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. Working with educational experts and psychologists across the region, the show is part of a major humanitarian programme designed to bring play and laughter to children suffering long term displacement.

The characters from Sesame Street have previously been used to engage with children impacted by disaster, including in our own Pacific neighbourhood. The characters of Grover and Elmo travelled around Fiji in 2016, to help children talk about and cope with the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston.

+ The floundering of Refugee resettlement figures 

The United States has slashed the number of permanent places it offers refugees, and unfortunately other countries are not filling the gap. Out of 1.4 million refugees estimated to be in urgent need of resettlement worldwide, last year only 63,696 were resettled through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The New Humanitarian states that in just seven years from 2012 to 2018, the number of refugees worldwide almost doubled, reaching an all-time high of 25.9 million. At the same time, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee settlements has increased as nationalist movements and xenophobia have flourished.

For refugees who can’t go home, starting over in a new country can be a life-changing opportunity – for generations. But the chances of that, even for the most deserving cases, are less than one in 20, according to new data from the UN.

+ The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.

+ Embrace the power of the podcast

We all love podcasts - but with tens of millions of podcasts now available, how can INGOs best take advantage of this trend?

You can subscribe to BOND's report on the changing podcast landscape here.

It examines the trends dominating the field, where podcasts are heading next and how INGOs can best utilise the medium.

"For those wishing to launch their own podcasts, the report advises caution. Think carefully about who your target audience is and how best to engage them. Successful podcasts often work best when they are aimed at niche audiences," writes BOND.

+ Want to help government respond better to communities?

The Policy Project, part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, is seeking feedback from community organisations and civil society through an online survey to learn more about your views and experience of public participation and community engagement in government policy development.

Survey closes 14 February 2020.

Click here to complete the survey and find further information

+ Pacific Koloa Collective - First Steps for 2020 

Tēnā koutou katoa, Bula Vinaka, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Fakatalofa atu, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Mālō nī, Talofa lava, Kia ora and warm Pacific greetings.

"In January this year, our Pacific Koloa Collective (PKC) resumed meetings and held our first fono/meeting!

The key highlights in our membership fono included sharing our learnings from the humanitarian response to the Samoa measles situation. A key highlight for us was acknowledging the powerful combination of cultural and clinical expertise in the model of care used to support the mental wellbeing of families who have lost members of their ‘āiga/family. We also shared our desire to use social media to speak to our Pacific youth and interest groups outside the sector and finally, we are excited about our plans to present at the DevNet conference later this year. We look forward to the 2020 year ahead!"

For more information, please email Mareta Tana at

+ Offer of free photography to members

Giora Dan is an internationally published documentary photographer based in Christchurch. For the last 2 years, Giora has provided an annual offer of two weeks of photography free of charge to CID members. The two weeks are dedicated to creating a body of work that tells a story with strong and evocative images of the development organisation’s work, portraying either a specific project or general exposure for the organisation.
In 2017 the offer was utilised by Save the Children, New Zealand, where Giora photographed and videoed their work in Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2018 the offer was utilised by Fair Trade and the photography covered the production of Fair Trade cacao and coffee in Peru.
CID member organisations wishing to apply for this offer are invited to submit a written proposal for consideration.  The application should state:
1. The nature of the issue/ activity needed to be covered
2. What the organisation wants to achieve with the images
3. Where the activity is located.
Please apply by e-mail to by 20 February 2020.
It is possible to apply for a period of less than two weeks; other organisations will then be able to use the remaining time. If you wish to discuss a possible application please e-mail or call 021 767883.

+ CIDTalk on Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR) - SAVE THE DATE

CID is hosting a Talk on 'Civil-Military Coordination in Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR): Insights from a Decade of Training', by Johanna Brown, on Thursday 20 February at lunchtime in Wellington.

Johanna’s presentation will share her personal experience training with and educating armed forces to respond to HADR activities in a non-hostile environment. Relevant to New Zealand and the Pacific region on the Ring of Fire, Johanna will talk about the “on the ground” partnering that takes place in a training environment to bolster relationships and skills for when the call comes in. 

+ OECD reaching out to civil society 

As part of the OECD DAC's collective effort to strengthen engagement with civil society in keeping with the Framework for Dialogue between the DAC and CSOs, the Secretariat is organising a series of informal online dialogues with CSOs on a number of topics over the coming year. These are technical information-sharing exchanges where the focal points of various DCD work streams present their work and respond to questions and comments from CSOs.

Two upcoming informal dialogues will be on:

  • Untying aid (6 February at 2 pm) 

Join the webinar here.

  • Aligning Development Co-operation and Climate Action: The Only Way Forward (February - TBC)

You are most welcome to join these informal dialogues online. If you are interested in the dialogue on Aligning Development Co-operation and Climate Action, please be in touch and someone at the OECD DAC will inform you as soon as the date and time are confirmed. 

Livelinks to the dialogues will be available and updated here.
Ideas for future dialogue topics are also welcome!


+ CID Activities
  • Review of CID Member Code of Compliance self-assessments
  • Scoping of Operational Training workshops
  • Scoping CIDTalks events
  • Preparations for Code of Conduct Committee meeting
  • Framing of Code Review recommendations for further discussion
  • Preparation of the CID members' Localisation survey
  • Advocacy research started
  • Work on CID safeguarding tools